Portage Bay Cafe

Review by: Michael Stern

Call it breakfast or brunch, the morning meal at Portage Bay Cafe is a Seattle treasure. For the breakfast bar alone, I want to return. That’s a help-yourself buffet of garnishes and condiments for pancakes or French toast: ravishing northwest berries, nuts and sugar, a great mountain of butter, and a bowl full of fresh whipped cream. Just about anything topped with these worthies would taste great, but the foundations are themselves extraordinary. In fact, Swedish pancakes, which come adorned with tart lingonberry preserves and sided by sweet lingonberry butter, are so perfect that it seems wrong to add anything at all.

Migas is (or, linguistically speaking, migas are) an unusual presentation, the tortilla not mixed up with eggs et. al., but rather pocketing them. It is a pliable plate-size flour tortilla, folded over a trio of free-range eggs scrambled with sharp Tillamook cheddar, sour cream, salsa, basil, and a measure of cumin. The package is crowned with a heaping portion of what the menu bills as avocado salsa, a doppelganger for guacamole. All in all, it is a magnificent meal, especially when large discs of chorizo sausage are added to the payload.

Meals at Portage Bay Cafe are huge, so I was able to tackle only two breakfasts; but the Benedicts, French toast, and banana pancakes on nearby tables looked terrific. And there’s a whole lunch menu I need to try, including salads with baked-in-house rustic bread, a Cuban sandwich dressed with habanero dill pickle slices, veggie shawarma, and a half-pound burger made from Washington State beef. Based on the short-ribs Roadfood dinner I ate here (a special event; normally dinner is not served), those post-breakfast meals are going to be something special, too.

What To Eat

Swedish Pancakes


Breakfast Bar


Portage Bay Cafe Recipes


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